Developmental Assets

Research has proven the direct link between assets and student achievement. No matter where or under what circumstances a child grows up, the more assets that child has, the more likely they are to succeed. The wonderful thing about Asset Building is that every member of the community can help to build them in youth. Alaska ICE promotes the shared responsibility of all members of the community to build assets in kids, and thus help to nurture successful adults.

To build assets, every child and teen needs connections with many supportive adults. The Alaska Initiative for Community Engagement works in schools, with tribes, with youth-serving programs, and with entire communities to assist Alaskans in creating a personal web of support for every young person through the power of asset building. View our Assets Bookmark with simple asset building ideas on one side and the eight asset categories on the other.

HKS now in its 6th edition

First published in 1998 by AASB and the State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Helping Kids Succeed – Alaskan Style has been shared throughout the state, the nation and the world and is now in its 6th edition. A major aim of Helping Kids Succeed is to introduce the Developmental Assets Framework, developed by the Search Institute of Minnesota, to parents and adults who care about children and youth success in school and in life.

The ideas laid out in the pages of Helping Kids Succeed – Alaskan Style were chosen from over 4,000 examples offered by people from 114 communities throughout Alaska. They came from workshops, cultural retreats and interviews from regions all across the state. The book presents practical ways of giving support and encouraging kids and offers methods for parents/extended family, Native communities, faith communities, and community members to incorporate assets into their daily lives.  Ten of the assets have been “Alaskanized” to better represent traditional Native values. See this “Alaskanized” assets list here.

HKS-AS and other AASB publications can be found at our resources page.

Assets are the key supportive strands in a young person’s life that help them grow to be strong, caring and capable adults. The more assets a young person has, the more likely they are to succeed in school and be helpful, healthy and productive citizens. At the same time, the more assets, the less likely young people are to be involved with drugs, alcohol or other risky behaviors.

The 20 external assets and 20 internal assets are shown below, adapted with permission from Search Institute®. Click on the title of each asset to view our short “newsletter” for that asset in Adobe pdf format.

External Assets

1. Family support – Family life provides high levels of love and support.
2. Positive family communication – Youth is willing to seek advice and counsel from parents and extended family.
3. Other adult relationships – Youth receives support from several nonparent adults.
4. Caring neighborhood/community – Youth experiences caring neighborhood and community.
5. Caring school climate – School provides a caring, encouraging enviornment.
6. Parent involvement in school – Parents are actively involved in helping youth succeed in school.

7. Community values youth – Youth believes that community adults value young people.
8. Youth given useful roles – Youth are taught and given useful roles in community.
9. Youth volunteers in the community – Youth gives one or more hour per week to serving the community.
10. Safety– Youth feels safe in home, school, and neighborhood.

Boundaries and expectations:
11.Family boundaries – Family is clear about rules and consequences for youth.
12. School boundaries – School provides clear rules and consequences.
13. Neighborhood boundaries – Neighbors take responsibility for monitoring youth.
14. Adult role models – Parents, Elders, and other adults model positive behavior.
15. Positive peer influence – Youth’s close friends model responsible behavior.
16. High expectations – Parents and teachers encourage youth to do well.

Constructive use of time:
17. Creative and cultural activities – Youth is involved in three or more hours per week in creative or cultural activities.
18. Youth programs – Youth spends one hour or more each week in sports, clubs, or other school or community organizations.
19. Religious community – Youth is involved in one or more hours per week in religious services or spiritual activities.
20. Time at home – Youth is out with friends “with nothing special to do” two or fewer nights per week.

Internal Assets

Commitment to learning:
21. Achievement motivation – Youth is motivated to do well in school.
22. School engagement – Youth is actively engaged in learning.
23. Homework – Youth reports doing one or more hours of homework per day.
24. Bonding to school – Youth cares about his or her school.
25. Reading for pleasure – Youth reads for pleasure three or more hours per week.

Positive values:
26. Caring – Youth places high value on freely helping other people.
27. Equality and social justice – Youth places high value on promoting equality and reducing hunger and poverty.
28. Integrity – Youth acts on convictions and stands up for beliefs.
29. Honesty – Youth tells the truth even when it is not easy.
30. Responsibility – Youth accepts and takes personal responsibility for his or her actions.
31. Restraint – Youth believes it is important not to be sexually active or use alcohol or drugs.

Social skills:
32. Planning and decision-making – Youth has skills to plan ahead and make responsible choices.
33. Interpersonal skills – Youth has empathy, sensitivity, communication and friendship skills.
34. Cultural competence – Youth knows and is comfortable with people of different cultural, racial, and ethnic backgrounds.
35. Resistance skills – Youth can resist negative peer pressure and dangerous community influences.
36. Peaceful conflict resolution – Youth seeks to resolve conflict without resorting to violence.

Positive identity:
37. Personal power – Youth feels in control over “many things that happen to me.”
38. Self-esteem – Youth reports having high self-esteem.
39. Sense of purpose – Youth reports that “my life has a purpose.”
40. Positive view of personal future – Youth is optimistic about his or her personal future.

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